Bell Tower, photo by Carl ThorWelcome!

Welcome to the Talisman Music website! Talisman Music features the Celtic group Talisman, musician and teacher Carl Thor, and contra dance bands Hands4 and Cascade Crossing. In addition, you will find a variety of products in our web store, and information about our teaching, sound engineering and composition services, as well as events we are promoting. We also host the web site for Vancouver's monthly 2nd Friday contra dance, Contra in the Couve!

Featured events

See our Calendar for details.


See video of Carl Thor and Carolyn Cruso in a house concert at Oysterville, WA, Oct. 20, 2013.

See video of Talisman playing for flash mob contra dance in Vancouver, WA, Sep. 7, 2013.

See video of Cascade Crossing at the Northwest Folklife Festival, May 25, 2013.

No Caravan of Despair, new music by Carl Thor and the Talisman Digital Symphony Orchestra, is now available for download. Lush and exotic, this four part suite evokes images of desert caravans and celebrations under the starlit sky. Find it at CDBaby or the iTunes Store.

You can stream more of our music projects on our SoundCloud page. Check it out!


Jam Tunes for Hammered Dulcimer

Join Carl Thor in a monthly workshop designed to help hammered dulcimer players at any level get more out of their jamming experience. We learn commonly played tunes, then look at ways to play around with the tune, adding harmony tones, rhythmic embellishments, and backup. Workshop is $25 on a drop-in basis, the first Sunday of every month, at the Artichoke School of Music, in conjunction with the Portland Dulcimer Jam (see below).

Jam Tunes workshop is also presented occasionally in Olympia. Contact us for more info.


Contra dance in Vancouver, WA, at Contra in the Couve!, held on the second Friday of every month at the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. This fine, roomy dance hall has a great (if ever so slightly sloped) wood floor and an easy-to-access location just a few blocks from I-5.
Come dance with us in Vancouver! Lesson at 7:30pm, dance at 8:00pm. More info here.

Special note for Portland contra dancers: Contra in the Couve is just 4 miles from the Interstate Bridge, and no passport or security check is required for entry into Washington state!

Featured Products in our Web Store

tune book

Dulcimer News

Spring Fling Rendezvous

The 14th Annual Spring Fling Rendezvous hammered dulcimer festival is almost here: April 25 - 27, 2014, featuring music workshops and performances with Patti Amelotte, Jody Marshall and Andy Young, assisted by our staff of Northwest talents, Carolyn Cruso, Rick Fogel, Carl Thor, and Mick Doherty. Visit for more information. This year's festival is full, but you can find out more for next year.

Portland Dulcimer Jam

The Portland Dulcimer Jam meets 2-4pm on the first Sunday of the month, at the Artichoke School of Music, 3130 SE Hawthorne, Portland. The jam immediately follows our monthly Jam Tunes for Hammered Dulcimer workshop.

Services offered by Talisman Music

Live Music

Recordings, Published Music and Other Products,
available through our Web Store

Composition and Arranging

Sound Engineering